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SPFL fixtures 2019-20: Celtic start against St Johnstone, Rangers visit Kilmarnock

Rangers travel to Rugby Park on opening day, a repeat of the final fixture of last season which Kilmarnock won 2-1

Celtic will begin their bid for a record-equalling ninth successive Scottish Premiership title at home to St Johnstone on 3 August.

Rangers visit Kilmarnock the following day in Angelo Alessio’s league debut as Rugby Park manager.

Among the other opening-weekend fixtures, promoted Ross County host Hamilton and Aberdeen entertain Hearts.

The season’s first Old Firm game is at Ibrox on 31 August, with the Edinburgh derby at Easter Road on 21 September.

Relegated Dundee kick off their Championship campaign at Dunfermline Athletic and face Dundee United on 31 August in the city rivals’ first league derby outside the top flight since 1996.

The Premiership stops for a winter break after the fixtures on 29 December and resumes on 22 January, with the campaign ending on the weekend of 16-17 May.

Celtic, aiming to emulate the nine-in-a-row milestone previously achieved by themselves and Rangers, also face Motherwell, Hearts, Hamilton and Kilmarnock in their opening six fixtures.

“We’re all looking forward to it [the start of the new Premiership campaign] but it’s still early and not really at the forefront of my thoughts,” said Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

“Seeing the fixtures today, you can digest it a little bit. Ultimately, the first round of the Champions League qualifiers [against FK Sarajevo] is at the forefront of my mind. It’d be great if we can make inroads into that and qualify again – it’s a tough ask.”

Neil Lennon says Celtic are relishing the prospect of the new Premiership campaign

Rangers are bidding to build on last season’s second-place finish under Steven Gerrard and return to Rugby Park where they lost 2-1 in the final game of last season and haven’t won in the league since 2011.

Italian Alessio takes charge at Kilmarnock after Steve Clarke led the club to third place last season with a second successive club record points total.

Co-manager Steven Ferguson said Ross County’s main aim is “survival” on the Dingwall side’s return to the top flight.

“We want to stay in the league and that’s by no means being defeatist at all. We’ve no given right to play in the Premiership, we’re a small club in the Highlands, albeit we believe we’re a very good club.

“We’ve had fifth place, sixth place finishes, that was with a different group of players and a different way things were done. We’re right at the start here. It’s going to be difficult, but what an exciting thing to be part of.”

Opening Premiership weekend in full

Saturday 3 August:

Aberdeen v Hearts

Celtic v St Johnstone

Hibernian v St Mirren

Livingston v Motherwell

Ross County v Hamilton Academical

Sunday 4 August:

Kilmarnock v Rangers